Gilbert Burns thinks UFC lightweight Charles Oliveira is doing something that we haven’t seen before in the UFC Octagon.
Oliveira earned another win over Justin Gaethje in the UFC 274 headliner. Despite missing championship weight and being stripped of his title, he appeared undistracted and put on another impressive performance against another top lightweight contender.
While Oliveira isn’t the lightweight titleholder as of now, most fans and media recognize him as the lightweight champion. He earned the then-vacant title over Michael Chandler before defending it against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269.
Oliveira’s 11-fight winning streak has created comparisons between himself and former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. After defeating Gaethje at UFC 254, the undefeated champion Nurmagomedov opted to walk away from the sport in the middle of his prime.
Oliveira isn’t planning on leaving MMA anytime soon, but speculation about what would happen in a hypothetical matchup between himself and Nurmagomedov has run rampant.
During a recent interview with MMA journalist Helen Yee, Burns explained how while he’s biased being Brazilian, he feels Oliveira presents a ton of issues for all lightweights including the retired Nurmagomedov.
“It’s different, you know?” Burns said of the Oliveira/Nurmagomedov comparisons. “Khabib was the guy that did the hardest thing: undefeated and left All the respect, but he left. Like I said, Oliveira’s been there since he was super young — put himself in the fire, fighting everybody, like I think he’s 11-0 coming on this streak that he’s coming right now, all finishes. How crazy is that? And finishing guys — Justin Gaethje in the first round, Dustin Poirier second round. If you don’t knock (him) out, he submits you.
“So I’m a fan of both, but right now, Oliveira is unbeatable. I don’t know. If they make that fight, for sure Khabib is different, but I don’t know, bro. Oliveira is on a different level right now.”
Oliveira could be on the verge of fighting Nurmagomedov’s protégé, Islam Makhachev, for the now-vacant lightweight title. Makhachev has called out Oliveira for a fight for years, as he recently revealed on social media.
Nurmagomedov has reiterated his desire to stay retired and focus on coaching other Dagestani MMA prospects like Makhachev, as well as leading the charge behind his Eagle FC promotion. While a matchup between Nurmagomedov and Oliveira seems highly unlikely, the conversation regarding the UFC lightweight GOAT could begin to ramp up in the coming years.
Do you agree with Gilbert Burns’ thoughts on Charles Oliveira?